Company Retreats in Omaha, NE 2017

Company retreats, when planned and executed properly, can truly do a world of good for your organization. What used to be largely considered a frivolous excursion of forced bonding during which time zero work happens has had a much-needed makeover in recent times in favor of a more balanced approach. As company retreats have evolved, they’ve become quite conducive to accomplishing forward progress without the feeling of actually doing work. Now more structured and with specific goals in mind for what should come from the experience, there’s generally time allotted for work (in the non-traditional sense) and play as a group in equal parts.

Just getting out of the confines of the day-to-day work environment and into a different place altogether can set the stage for improvement in many different areas, individually and collectively. It can be the conduit for increased productivity, improved morale, and facilitate the development of meaningful relationships that extends back into the workplace when the event has concluded. It can help to encourage creativity and provides the opportunity for an open exchange of ideas where everyone is on the same level. This temporary-but-profoundly-impactful equal playing field allows you to become better acquainted with your team as a boss or for those in leadership roles, with each other as co-workers, or with others in different departments or teams, all together while doing something fun or interesting. And that’s just a quick run-down of the more prominent benefits.

As far as planning a company retreat goes, you’ll want to set a budget, select the location(s), structure the agenda to include meaningful activities, and arrange for the necessities, such as a meal, downtime, transportation, etc., or even lodging accommodations if you’re venturing on a trip together. For those who are considering planning such an event in Lincoln or surrounding areas, we’ve provided a few ideas to consider. We’ve also tried them out ourselves as a team, so they are all Strictly Business approved! (And for those who are thinking about planning a trip for their company retreat, our team just ventured on one and detailed our experience, so make sure to check out our travel series feature in this month’s issue to check out what we did on ours!)

Experience The Great Outdoors

There is something very restorative about fresh air and getting outdoors, whether for the entire day or just a few hours. Add in your choice of enjoyable yet productive activities and you’re all set!

Rachel Schizas-Lied Lodge

Rachel Schizas
Lied Lodge

“Our venue provides plenty of room to play, engage, and relax,” says Rachel Schizas of Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm. “We’re very excited about our newest group activity, Mystery at the Mansion, which takes place in the 52-room Arbor Lodge—built by Arbor Day founder J. Sterling Morton. Team members participate in a ‘whodunnit’ story by acting out the characters in a quest to solve the clues. You can also hold dining events at this site.

Across the farm, we can facilitate other activities and team games such as life-size Jenga, Scrabble, and Super Dominoes, as well as Tangrams, Tightrope Walker, Minefield, and more. Are you competitive? We can help you hold a bowling tournament at Arbor Lanes. Looking for evening fun and activities? Do a barbecue at the Historic Barns where outdoor grilling and lawn games are an everyday possibility. Let us set up an activity and game room for leisurely fun or a casino night. Sit outside with drinks and s’mores at our fire pits. For those who love the game of golf or consider themselves more casual players, don’t forget the famous Arbor Links Golf course designed by Arnold Palmer. These are just some of the things we have to offer along with our always popular, spa, wine tastings, and canvas painting.

At Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm, we recognize that for these types of events, it’s about collaboration and building relationships within teams and organizations to strengthen purpose. We are here to provide much more than the conference rooms our groups occupy. Rather, it’s about people finding inspiration and opportunities to foster bright thinking. During these activities, rich conversations lead to breakthrough, collaboration thrives, and doing business becomes more meaningful.

When planning a retreat at our venue, the sooner you can book, the better to ensure you get the dates you want. We’ll provide you with your own personal conference planning manager who guides you through every step, including scheduling group and team-building activities. This person will also be here when you arrive and assist you throughout your meeting. We’re here to make it easy for you. Simply tell us what you need, and we’ll handle every detail to ensure your success. Moreover, when you choose to meet at Lied Lodge & Conference Center, you’re supporting the good work of tree planting, stewardship, and conservation around the globe through the vital programs of the Arbor Day Foundation. You are helping solve global issues. Your meeting today makes for a better, more verdant tomorrow – enhancing the environment we all share. With over 260 acres, we have endless possibilities to create your one-of-a-kind event. Let us support what inspires you.”

Bryson Airboat Tours, which is situated along the banks of the Platte River near Fremont, NE, is another great option for getting your group away from the office, out of the city, and into the great outdoors. With the group packages, you’ll not only have access to unlimited airboat rides during your scheduled time, but there’s a nice entertaining area that accommodates groups of all sizes. Amenities on-site include a grilling area with plenty of tables and seating, horseshoe pits, sand volleyball, swimming area, bean bag toss, and you can also bring any number of games/activities to set up.

Bryson-Bryson's Airboat Tours

Bryson’s Airboat Tours

“In terms of finding something unique for a company retreat, truly just hopping on one of our tour boats and going for an airboat ride is going to be a completely different experience for anybody,” emphasizes Bryson, owner of Bryson’s Airboat Tours. “Our three hours of fun package is the most popular, as it’s a good amount of time to get everyone out on the boat at least once if not more depending on the size of your group. While the airboat rides are generally the highlight of the outing for most, I’ve seen so many different ways that our guests have utilized the outdoor space for team-building activities that have been a big hit. As a word of advice, for anyone who chooses to have an outdoor event in Nebraska, consider spending money on renting a tent just in case, whether it’s shelter from a sporadic rain shower that pops up or to have a designated place to get out of the sun for a bit, especially in July and August. We book events from Memorial Day through Labor Day and can still accommodate your retreat this season.”

Adventure Within The Metro

There are also, of course, a number of excellent options within the Omaha Metro that a company could utilize for a retreat. These are also options where you could plan to host an event with just your staff, or are family friendly if you’d like to extend the invitation.

Derek Dillon-Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Derek Dillon
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

If you’re not acquainted with the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema yet, it offers quite the unique experience for moviegoers. For groups, the same is true, but with the ability to take the experience to the next level, there are some fantastic options to explore for a company outing. “If you are planning a company retreat or team building event at the Alamo Drafthouse, one of the perfect ways to have some fun is to do one of our patented Movie Parties!” recommends Derek Dillon of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “We have plenty of titles available to choose from and these events come complete with pre-show contests and interactive props. They are just a great time in general, but one notable benefit of adding a Movie Party to your retreat is that it’s a great way to get everyone loosened up and have them interacting and really forming a bond over a film that they can all enjoy. There are a lot of different elements that go into a private event and navigating those can be difficult at times. Our event staff will personally walk you through the process and make sure you are aware of everything that is available to you. We’ll work with your budget to ensure you are getting as much bang for your buck as possible. Here at Alamo Drafthouse we have the ability to be very flexible and can pretty much cater to any idea that you might want to bring to the table for your event.”

Margaret White-Papio Fun Park

Margaret White
Papio Fun Park

Papio Fun Park is another unique destination that provides the necessary accommodations for groups, with numerous options for activities and amenities on-site that you could be incorporated into a company event. “The traditional benefit of retreats is to learn more about your ‘working family’ in a social, informal setting,” notes Margaret White of Papio Fun Park. “Our staff is always looking for ways to bring out the excitement and element of fun in each activity. If you’re looking for something different for your company that promotes engagement, try putting a spin on competitions. A couple ideas include an air hockey tournament or a miniature golf tournament with unique obstacles, such as using a pool cue instead of a putter for one hole. If you’re planning on several hundred attendees, you can always bring in additional activities. As a general rule, when picking the activities to incorporate, you want them to be entertaining for all ages. Even a 10-year-old can win against their parents in air hockey. A big draw has been a ‘bubble’ artist. You have to see them in action to believe, it’s quite enjoyable!” In closing, she offers one final piece of advice: “Talk to the experts at planning retreats, have them come alongside your event planner(s) to help you work out all of the details, and you’ll have the outcome you are seeking.”

Travel With Your Team

Jen Magnuson-The Vacation Store & The Cruise Company

Jen Magnuson
The Vacation Store & The Cruise Company

You may also be setting your sights outside of the Metro, and even the state. Those who have the resources to put together a company retreat that involves travel will be providing a once-in-a-lifetime treat for their team. “A destination company retreat can entice your employees to be excited about the retreat and engage them in the planned events,” says Jen Magnuson of The Vacation Store & The Cruise Company. “A company retreat allows employees to get away from the stress and monotony of the office, providing the opportunity for relaxation that can help them to regroup and rediscover their passions. For a lot of employees, a corporate retreat can be a dreaded event. What better way to do some team bonding than on the beach? Let The Vacation Store & The Cruise Company create the perfect company retreat for your group. We can plan the perfect event at a luxury all-inclusive resort or take your group on the open seas to enjoy a cruise! With a destination company retreat, since time of travel is essential, planning in advance is always in your favor to ensure a great rate, flights, availability, etc. We can assist in arranging all aspects of your event from your accommodations, VIP transfers, and airfare from multiple cities to organizing your event space, cocktail parties, group events on the beach and much, much more! Leave the details to us! We can also arrange your AV equipment for presentations and help with shipping event items to your destination. Let the experts make your company retreat or destination event a seamless way to bring your team together!”

Event Planning Essentials

Planning to incorporate local vendors is usually a part of company retreats to some extent, depending on the venue’s offerings or the logistics of the event you’re arranging for your team. Keeping the team’s energy up is important for the success of company retreats, so it’s generally a given that arranging for a meal or snack will be in order. Just Good Meat is an excellent local resource to partner with as they do it all – catering, food truck, meal bundles, grilling items, meat & cheese trays, and so much more. Their team will take your budget and all other event specifics into account in order to put together a meal or spread that will make the entire event stand out just for the food alone. Along with the meal, refreshments are a staple of any event where you’re entertaining people, company retreats included. The staff at Cornhusker Beverage & Bridal can help you decide the adequate proportion of beer, wine, liquor, soft drinks, and/or punch needed for your group size and can even help you come up with a fun signature drink to serve at your event! Instead of taking your chances with buying the wrong amount, consulting with them will save you a lot of time and hassle. Finally, for anything you don’t have readily available to but would like to add into the mix for entertaining your guests, instead of purchasing it there may be the option to rent it for your event. Honeyman Rent-All has an entire division dedicated to party and event rentals, with just about anything you could possibly need or want to complete your setup.

To sum things up, we encourage you to find the time to plan and execute your own company retreat, and if you’re staying local, to utilize the venues and vendors here in our community to set the stage for the magic to happen. It’s truly well worth your time, as the benefits are numerous and extend far beyond what we’ve covered thus far. The hardest part of any event is planning it, so turn to the experts for support and guidance with that and you’re well on your way to a company retreat that will yield the results you desire.